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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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Boston 24, Us 18, Washington 14, Fbi 9, Massachusetts 8, Duval Patrick 7, U.s. 5, United States 5, America 4, Tom Fuentes 3, Obama 3, Newtown 3, Cisco 2, The City 2, Hertz 2, Dana 2, Juliette 2, Tucson 2, Maryland 2, Gabby Giffords 2,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    April 17, 2013
    2:00 - 3:00pm PDT  

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in the united states and around the world. you're in "the situation room." here is what we know right now. police and the fbi are supposed to hold a news conference shortly. we don't know when it will take place. it's been delayed at a minimum to get the latest on the bombing investigation. the massachusetts governor duval patrick is here. he's not far away. he is going to be joining us live this hour. he's coming over here to our location. we'll get the latest from him. sources have told us there has been what they call significant progress in this investigation. sources also say the investigators want to question a possible suspect who has been seen spotted on videotape. washington meanwhile has been rattled by official word that comes after a letter sent to president obama and the u.s. senator have tested positively at least initially for the deadly poison ricin. we're just learning that president obama will deliver a statement on the gun control measure that just failed in congress. he will go to the white house rose garden. this hour we'll have live
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coverage of the president deeply disappointed because they have failed to pass these, even these modified background check expansion regulations. meanwhile, authorities are supposed to come out fairly soon to brief us on the latest investigation in the boston marathon bombings. we're getting conflicting word on when that might happen if in fact it will happen. but two sources do with knowledge of the investigation say authorities want to question a person seen on video, a person seen on video as a possible suspect in the attack. let's bring in our chief national correspondent john king. our security analyst as well. they're here. juliet will be walking in momentarily. john, let's update our viewers on what we know right now as far as the criminal investigation is concerned. >> we do know for a number of sources they believe they've made substantial progress described by some as a breakthrough in this case because of a video analysis much of it coming from the lord & taylor department store which is very close in proximity to the site of the second explosion on
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monday. i'm also told that some video provided by a boston television station was part of this. they finally got what they were looking for. one of the sites of the explosion i'm told the video is very clear shows somebody delivering a package, putting it down, right at the site of the explosion, and then these sources say from the video enhancement of that they have identified a suspect. and so then the question is from there this briefing was originally set for 1:00 today and moved to 5:00. now it is postponed again. we are told sometime. a number of sources say they've identified a suspect and from there our information has been sometimes conflicting and sometimes murky as to whether they have a name for that suspect or just a visual identification and where it goes from there. >> we will hear this hour. he is coming here. the governor of massachusetts, governor duval patrick. i assume he has been fully briefed on every step in this law enforcement investigation. >> the governor is getting briefings constantly from both the state police and boston police, the fbi. i know the mayor of boston was briefed this morning.
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i talked to the mayor after i had been told there was a breakthrough in the investigation and he wouldn't go that far but he did confirm it was the lord & taylor video. that his briefing from the boston police commissioner about what they called, other sources called a turning point. and he said they were making progress and he was hopeful that there would be a definitive breakthrough quite soon. that was where the mayor stopped. >> the governor will be here fairly soon. we'll talk to the governor as soon as he gets here. governor duval patrick. tom fuentes is the former fbi assistant director, a cnn analyst joining us right now. what are you hearing? you have good sources. what is the latest information you're getting ob the status, the state of this criminal investigation into these two bombings at the boston marathon that killed three people and injured nearly 200? >> hi, wolf. i think what it shows is that it requires a great deal of meticulous work to put this together and that working with all of the still pictures, video pictures, security camera pictures, trying to put that all together into a chronological sequence to logically show who
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walked up to the places where those bombs went off, did someone set something down, do they have a clear picture of the person, where did they go afterward? how soon afterward did the explosion occur? that is a very pains taking, deliberative process. i think the information then of significant progress is that they do have some pictures that do show faces fairly clearly and it is very important in helping them track down the individual. as far as the delay from the press conferences from 1:00 in the afternoon there are so many reasons having been in that situation that you may want a delay. you think you're about to any minute have a significant, even more significant breakthrough and then it doesn't happen and then it takes longer so you could have that type of information coming. there could be a discussion going on as well that if they've got very good still or video
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pictures of possible suspects -- i'll put those on the air with a law enforcement request, kind of an amber alert type of thing where they put a suspect photograph out through the media to the public saying, does anybody know this person or know of that person? please call our tip line and let's go forward and we'll maintain your anonymity and security if you do that. you know, please help in this investigation. and help in a more specific manner. help find this person. so those are all the different possibilities that are going on right now. >> it looks like they're making significant progress but, clearly, they are by no means there yet. stand by, tom. tom fuentes is going to be with us. juliet is here as well, our homeland security analyst. it takes a while. >> yes. >> it is amazing. what, three days, monday, tuesday, wednesday. >> right. >> since this horrible tragedy occurred.
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it's going to take a while for law enforcement to find out what really happened. >> right. i've been saying all day the most important -- since the event has already happened the most important thing is that you preserve the evidence and you have a solid case and then you get a guilty verdict against the right person. that's all that matters right now to everyone involved on the law enforcement and national security side. so they're not on 24/7 time. they're taking the long view because they know this will be a very long process. even if you find someone within the next week or so just imagine the trial is going to be, you know, maybe up to a year off. just looking at how these things normally work. it will be a big deal trial. so there will be lots of speculation. i think, you know, part of the message from public officials here you'll certainly hear from the governor is whoever it is and whatever is going on there just should not be this rush to judgment. this is a city that has remarkably sort of shown an ability to bounce back pretty well. >> it certainly has. if you walk around only a few
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blocks from here you see people going back into stores, coffee shops. >> right. >> the city is alive despite the horrendous tragedy. you're from boston. you were in various parts of the city today. give us a sense of what is going on in boston. >> without a doubt most people are trying to get about their business and also want some resolution of this which is why i think some of the conflicting information from sources during the day caused a sense of relief in boston and first some breakthrough, now we've been told by sources or government officials that is not the case. an arrest hasn't been made. clearly something big has happened in the investigation today. in terms of the city getting back to life when i talked to the mayor he said he was certain the people of boston and the surrounding communities would be resilient. they would move on. he is also already talking about a victim compensation fund. they spoke to mr. kenneth feinberg who worked post 911 and was also in touch with some of the gulf coast communities about how you compensate victims. they're trying to get that piece of it together where would the money come from? >> a lot of private businesses have contribute the so far.
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i asked the mayor if he thought taxpayer money would be involved and he said so far they are getting a huge outpouring from the business community and their number one priority is to define victim. who would be entitled to compensation. obviously people who lost family members and wounded. he said that was something they wanted to move forward with as quickly as possible so those folks could know they would be taken care. he also said the crime scene area was 15 blocks. it is down to 12. he said very soon he expects it to go down to at least nine and he said he would like it because this is such a big part of the heart of the city to be opened as soon as possible. he also said of course especially given the new developments in the investigation that he would wait, do that, make that decision on trying to reopen the streets. >> i just want to set the scene. we see this tank that was erected with a big medical red cross sign on it. what is going on inside? >> well, what we thought, when you plan a marathon, as we did when i worked in state government, this would have been down by now of course and it is a huge, vast room.
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it is just like a big tent with all sorts of beds on it and people would be taking care of for exhaustion or dehydration in a normal marathon. immediately after it was a triage tent. everyone's been removed from there of course. but there might be evidence in the tent and so that's what people are telling me is going on because of course if you were a victim, you are carrying shrapnel or whatever else to the tent. so this will all sort of begin to get to the core moment when we have enough evidence that this can all be opened up and then people will start to sort of live in boston as we used to. this is a huge part of boston to be closed off so things are getting back to normal but not perfect yet. >> tom fuentes, you've been involved in a lot of criminal investigations going back to your days as an assistant fbi director. what they have to do, any evidence that they find they have to keep intact so it is admissible in a court of law. >> that is true, wolf. to maintain the chain of custody
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and show exactly where they maintain the evidence, how they found it, and who actually had physical control of that evidence every minute from the time it was seen at the crime scene to the time they'd take it into court and present it during the prosecution. that chain of custody is vital for the evidence to be presented against the individual. >> what is your sense based on everything you're hearing. i know you are pretty well placed around the law enforcement community, the federal law enforcement community, tom, on the state of this investigation right now. hold that thought. drew griffin is standing by with new reporting for us on what's going won this news conference. we were expecting it at the top of the hour from the fbi agent in charge. drew, what are you picking up? >> just a little more confusion but we're told it is going to be postponed. that is the official announcement. jason pack with the fbi just walked into this very crowded room where we all are expecting the news conference to begin at 5:00 and told us that we are
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trying to make it happen now wolf but we're not promising anything. this is a quotement we're taking a little more time to prepare and then he abruptly left the room. that is a little different than what we heard earlier which was that the bomb scare at the courthouse kind of delayed this so we've been getting this postponed all afternoon and now we understand that they are attempting to do this news conference tonight but we're not being promised one at this point. wolf? >> so, basically, they're not saying when it will happen. they think they'll try to make it happen. it could happen in 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or later tonight. is that the impression you're getting? >> yeah. once we did learn it was going to be postponed we were told 90 to 120 minutes. hour and a half to two hours. okay? then jason pat comes in from the fbi and puts in the possibility it may not happen only that we are trying to make it happen tonight but quoting here again taking a little more time to prepare for whatever it is that
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they were going to release or announce. >> which makes sense. we want to make sure when they release the information they have adequate information to release. important information we have been told that there have been some significant developments in the investigation during the course of this day as opposed to yesterday when they were saying the investigation was at its infancy. all right. stand by. once you get more information on the timing of the conference we'll go back to you. we are going to be hearing though this hour from the governor of massachusetts duval patrick coming here to our location. i'll be speaking with him. we'll get whatever we can from him. he has obviously been well briefed and is on top of this investigation as well. so we'll hear momentarily from the governor of massachusetts, but, john king, juliette, john, first to you. we shouldn't read too much into this either postponement or if it's canceled, the news conference, i would read something into that but if it is just postponed by an hour or two that stuff happens.
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>> clearly, they've had significant breakthroughs in the investigation. where they are exactly is a little murky. they were supposed to be at 1:00, then moved it to 5:00. now indefinite. clearly that means they are trying to get their ducks in order. >> right. >> there's been angst over some of the leaks. we have the justice department, boston police department, now fbi saying no arrest has been made after there were leaks from law enforcement officials suggesting they had been made. they clearly want to get their own communication in order. the question is are they delaying this because of progress in the investigation, a delay just from a communication standpoint to make sure everyone is on the same page? we don't know. >> the other possibility, juliette, is they don't want to say anything that could undermine a critical moment in the investigation. >> right. or the criminal case. so the government is not the government. there's a lot of different agencies with a lot of different interests. it is not uncommon to have an expectation that everyone is going to come forward and then have to delay it to make sure everyone is on the same page.
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that is important because everyone needs to work together for an eventual capture and prosecution. but, also, to make sure no one is sort of speaking out of turn which often happens in government as well. so i don't make much of this. in fact, since so much has happened today, the fact that they are going to come out and sort of disclose it means they want to make sure everything is right. you don't want to say anythi anything -- but what has to be said, we're hearing 60 or 90 minutes. >> we'll see what happens with the fbi briefing, temporarily on hold. we'll get more information. we are going to have a briefing right here in "the situation room." the governor of massachusetts, duval patrick will be coming over here and will brief us. we'll ask him the questions. that's happening in the next few minutes. he is coming here to the situation room. the president of the united
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states meanwhile is about to go into the white house rose garden to speak live. we'll have live coverage of that. he wants to speak on his deep disappointment on the u.s. senate failing to pass an aprefecture y abereave yated background check legislation. a major disappointment for him and a lot of other folks as well. we'll have live coverage of the president in the rose garden momentarily here in "the situation room." you're also looking at a live picture of the scene of the second bombing here in boston. investigators still covering every inch for evidence. stay with us. [ male announcer ] you could be at the corner of "medicare part d" and "up to 75% lower copays." as a preferred pharmacy, walgreens can save you as much as 75% compared to other select pharmacies. walgreens, at the corner of happy and healthy. [ male announcer ] just when you thought you had experienced performance a new ride comes along and changes everything.
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we're here in boston watching the fallout from the bombings at the boston marathon earlier this week. you're looking at a live picture of the second bombing that occurred there. we'll be speaking with the governor of massachusetts, duval patrick, momentarily, to get the latest on the criminal investigation. the news conference with the fbi and other law enforcement authorities has been temporarily postponed but we will get the latest from governor duval patrick coming here to our location momentarily. even as we await word from the governor washington was rattled by word that letters were sent to both president obama and a united states senator and tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. there was a further concern earlier today when a report that
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other suspicious packages led to partial evacuation of a senate office building on capitol hill. let's go to our chief congressional correspondent dana bash. what is the very latest? >> reporter: although these letters did test positive in the initial tests we are still waiting for the formal test that is coming from a lab in fort detrick, maryland not too far from her in washington. terry friedman over at the justice department is reporting we'll not likely get those results until tomorrow. the hope was we would get them this afternoon but it looks like it will push into tomorrow. the other thing that he is reporting is that the fbi insists that there is no arrest imminent or at least that they are unaware of any imminent arrest in this case. despite the fact that we were told starting yesterday by senators coming out of a briefing including senator clair mccaskill of missouri that law enforcement officials had at least a sense of who they might be looking at, somebody who had been harassing senator wicker from mississippi before. the other thing they are saying
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in this new fbi statement is that they want to be sure that they know exactly how many letters have actually gone out. it's unclear they say it's murky how many letters were sent by this individual. we know of two. were there more? we don't know. with regard to the letter the other thing we've learned from law enforcement officials is the substance of it. of course, the reason why this is so controversial and questionable is because of the potential for a deadly substance ricin. in terms of the writing on the letter i want you to look at what apparently these letters said, both of them, to senator wicker and the president. to see a wrong and not expose it is to become a silent partner to its continuance. then it went on to say i am kc and i approve this message. even though they didn't have a return stamp they knew it was from memphis, tennessee and are hoping at least this message will give them more clues.
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>> we'll stay on top of this with you. dr. sanjay gupta is here our chief medical correspondent. ricin is a deadly poison. i remember in 2001 anthrax another deadly poison wound up killing some people and those letters laced with anthrax. tell us what ricin can do. >> ricin, anthrax is a bacteria and ricin is a type of protein essentially. what it does is it sort of kills at the cellular level. so if you put it into your stomach for example, it'll kill some of the cells along your stomach lining, your intestinal lining. if you breathe it in, it sort of does the same thing in your lungs. it doesn't happen right away, wolf. it usually happens within a few hours someone starts to get sick. >> can it kill you? >> definitely. it is a very lethal -- if given in the right doses. one thing i'll point out though when you talk about breathing it in in order to actually get in your lungs and we talked about this with anthrax several years ago but it has to be a very
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particular size. this is referred to as weaponizing it and this is a challenging process. that part isn't easy to do. you can find it because it comes from the castor bean pretty readily but to make it into a situation where you actually breathe it in is not easy. >> why is it so hard to determine if it is in fact ricin, this letter laced with suspected material going to president obama, going to senator wicker of mississippi? preliminary tests showed it tested positive for ricin. they've sent it to fort detrick, maryland, the nation's top lab to deal with. what takes so long in making this determination? >> i think part of this is just being very careful. this is obviously a big deal if in fact it is ricin. that would not be an accident. you wouldn't just accidently get ricin. but i will tell you i looked at the testing for ricin just as we looked at the testing for anthrax years ago. there's pretty good testifies out there. sensitive tests, specific tests. my guess is they're double checking it at this point but if they came back and said this was ricin, unless just for some reason the tests were way off,
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my guess is what dana reports tomorrow is going to be a confirmatory test. >> don't go too far away. we have other stuff to talk about. some of the victims at the hospitals i know you've been spending some time with the doctors and others. >> yes. >> the nurse who desperately tried to save a bombing victim, krystle campbell, wants to meet her family to tell them about their daughter's final moments. also standing by for a statement from the president of the united states in a few moments. he is going into the rose garden. we'll have live coverage. you're watching a special edition of "the situation room." all waking up. connecting to the global phenomenon we call the internet of everything. ♪ it's going to be amazing. and exciting. and maybe, most remarkably, not that far away. we're going to wake the world up.
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we're awaiting an fbi press conference. you're looking at a live picture. it was supposed to start at the top of the hour and has been delayed. we don't know when it will happen. as soon as it starts we'll have live coverage. it may happen within the next half hour or hour or so. we don't know. it may not happen. there's ban lot of confusion from various law enforcement sources over the past several hours. what has happened in this investigation, what has not happened in the investigation. maybe some of the confusion is causing the delay of the start of this fbi news conference. we'll hear what they have to say as soon as they come to the microphones. the governor of massachusetts duval patrick is coming here and will be joining us here in the
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situation room momentarily. we'll get the latest on the investigation from him. our questions for the governor of massachusetts. that is coming up very soon. but there's been other important developments today in washington. including a major defeat for the president of the united states and others who supported an expanded background check provision. the president is getting ready to go into the white house, the rose garden, right now, pretty soon and jessica yellin our white house correspondent is standing by with that. set the scene and the key issue is this. if 80% or 90% of the american people according to all the most recent public opinion polls want more background checks, why can't the senate approve it? i assume the president is going to get into that. >> reporter: that's right. i imagine that is exactly what the president will say when he comes out here. his press secretary made that point today. he called this a 90% issue. alluding to the fact that some polls have shown as much as 90%
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of the american public supports expanding background checks and then asked why can't the senate then pass this? i'm told the president when he comes out here and he is scheduled to be here in as little as one minute from now although i suspect it'll take longer than that, he will be joined by some of the families of newtown victims, families who were up on capitol hill today when this amendment was defeated up there with vice president biden so he will be joined by the victims' families no doubt making his remarks that much more emotion al. i suspect he'll give very emotional remark as he has to date. probably ten to 15 minutes. you can expect the president to talk about the fact that this is an issue that matters to americans and that he will not give up the fight. that this is not the time, there is no reason this issue has to go down now and he will continue persisting on it. i believe the president was on
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the phone working this issue throughout the day today. and as you know, wolf, he is really expending about as much political capital on this in the second term as on any other issue, holding 13 different events, talking about it at dinners with republican senators and then, you know, flying newtown families back on airforce one here to lead them to bring to capitol hill for lobbying. he has really put elbow grease into it. i spoke to the head of the brady gun campaign an organization that once gave the obama administration an f previously for its efforts on gun control and that person said this issue wouldn't even be before the senate if it weren't for the white house's efforts to date. it's an issue the president has personally championed and this loss he said, sit'll be a personal defeat for him so he is
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going to continue to fight. >> wean the president is coming here to boston tomorrow with the first lady to participate in an interfaith service at 11:00 am eastern tomorrow morning. do we anticipate when the president starts speaking now in the rose garden he will also address what has happened here in boston? >> no. these remarks will not address, he will not address boston in these remarks. this will focus squarely only on guns. he did talk about boston earlier today in a wounded warriors event when he said unexpectedly, tragically, some of our own americans became wounded citizens earlier this week in boston. don't look for him to talk about the boston event in these rose garden remarks, wolf. >> stand by. as soon as the president comes into the rose garden we'll have live coverage of his remarks. we are also standing by to hear
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from the governor of massachusetts duval patrick on the criminal investigation under way here in boston. let's go to capitol hill right now. dana bash once again joining us. what happened, dana? so many americans want background checks for gun prchls. why didn't the senate approve this legislation? >> reporter: there are so many ways to answer that question. no one answer gives you the full picture. it is really hard to remember the last time there was a 90% issue on anything much less something that the senate didn't then go ahead and agree with. the fact that the vote was five short was obviously a disappointment but was also a big shot in the heart to the people who were here actually in the senate chamber, wolf. you'll see family members with the president shortly but they're also here for the vote.
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our ted barret was in the chamber. he reports that two women stood up very loudly and all the senators heard and said shame on you. one of the women, they were both related to recent gun violence. one was the woman who said she helped take one of the magazines away from jared loughner the man who shot gabby giffords and others and another was a family member of a virginia tech victim. that is the kind of emotion you're seeing still it didn't really seem to get the senators, the ones they needed to get across the aisle. the reason you got a whole bunch of different reasons from some being lobbied. senator heler of nevada said he thinks it is too much paperwork and wouldn't get to the heart of the goal which was to be to curb gun violence. you saw jeff flake from arizona, very close with gabby giffords, they were lobbying him hard and he said this goes too far. some of those kinds of statements.
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let me tell you the raw politics. that is that there are a number of issues before the senate that some senators are going to have to take tough votes on. immigration reform and maybe not a vote but often times in terms of a position gay marriage. there is a feeling that some of these kind of middle of the roaders on the republican and democratic side decided this issue, this gun issue, there was too much risk and not enough reward to go ahead dean fi the nra lobby ernestly from their perspective the opinion of many of their constituents in their states despite the 90% approval we've seen nationally to expand background checks. >> we do anticipate some family members from relatives of the victims of the newtown, connecticut massacre will be with the president once he comes into the rose garden. i suspect the president is in the oval office right now maybe
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meeting with family members, maybe just reviewing his words. momentarily he'll be walking out into the rose garden to make his statement. here he comes right now. some of the family members i suspect are coming out first, yes, and then the president will walk out. these are the family members that will be standing behind the president once he delivers his remarks. this is an emotional moment to be sure and we see the former congresswoman gabby giffords is there as well. let's listen in. >> just four months ago my wife jackie and i lost our son and our children james and natalie lost their little brother daniel. daniel was a first grader at sandy hook elementary school. our sweet, 7-year-old daniel was one of 20 children. six adults lost on december 14th. i have to say, it feels like it was just yesterday.
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in our deepest grief we were supported by the love of our families and comforted by the love and prayers from millions of americans from every corner of the country. what happened in newtown can happen anywhere. in any instant, any dad in america could be in my shoes. no one should feel the pain. no one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence. that's why we're here. two weeks ago 12 of us from newtown came to meet with u.s. senators and have a conversation about how to bring common sense solutions to the issues of gun violence. we came with a sense of hope, optimistic that real conversation could begin that would ultimately save the lives
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of so many americans. we met with dozens of democrats and republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, spouses, parents who lost their lives on december 14th. expanded background checks wouldn't have saved our loved ones but, still, we came to support a bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with a ratings from the nra. a common sense proposal supported by 90% of americans is a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. we'll return home now disappointed but not defeated. we return home with a determination that change will happen. maybe not today, but it will happen. it will happen soon. we've always known this would be a long road and we don't have the luxury of turning back. we will keep moving forward and
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build public support for common sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety. we take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost and we carry a great faith in the american people. on behalf of the sandy hook promise, i would like to thank president obama, vice president biden for leadership and standing strong and continuing to fight for a safer america. i thank senators toomey, manchin, and cook for coming together to seek common ground on legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives. i thank connecticut's senators blumenthal and murphy. they've been right with us and stood by us right from the very beginning from the first few hours after tragedy. they were with us. we will not be defeated. we are not defeated and we will not be defeated.
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we are here now and will always be here because we have no other choice. we are not going away. every day as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence our determination grows stronger. we leave washington hoping others will join us across the country making the sandy hook promise, a pledge we had great hope more u.s. senators would take literally. i would like to end by repeating the words with which the sandy hook promise begins. our hearts are broken. our spirit is not. thank you. it is now my great pleasure to introduce the president of the united states of america barack obama.
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a few months ago in response to too many tragedies including the shootings of a united states congresswoman gabby giffords who is here today and the murder of 20 innocent school children and their teachers. this caused us to take up the cause of protecting more people from gun violence. families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders not just to honor the memory of their children but to protect the lives of all of our children. a few minutes ago a minority in the united states senate decided it wasn't worth it. they blocked common sense gun reforms even while the families
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looked on from the senate gallery. by now it is well known that 90% of people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun. we're talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness. 90% of americans support that idea. most americans think that's already the law. and few minutes ago 90% of democrats in the senate voted for that idea. but it's not going to happen because 90% of republicans in the senate just voted against that idea. a majority of senators voted yes to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks.
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but by continuing distortion of senate rules a minority was able to block it from moving forward. i'm going to speak plainly and honestly about what happened here. the american people are trying to figure out how can something have 90% support and not happen? we had a democrat and a republican, both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our second amendment. with a grades from the nra come together and work together to write a common sense compromise on background checks and i want to thank joe manchin and pat toomey for their courage in doing that. that was not easy, given their traditional strong support for second amendment rights. as they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on
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our second amendment rights. all it did was extend the same background check rules that already applied to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the internet. so 60% of guns are already purchased through a background check system, this would have covered a lot of the guns that are currently outside that system. their legislation showed respect for gun owners and it showed respect for the victims of gun violence. gabby giffords by the way is both. she is a gun owner and a victim of gun violence. she is awesterner and moderate and supports these background checks. in fact, even the nra used to support expanded background checks. the current leader of the nra used to support these background
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checks. so while this compromise didn't contain everything i wanted or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress. it represented moderation and common sense. that's why 90% of the american people supported it. but instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill. they claimed that it would create some sort of big brother gun registry even though the bill did the opposite. this legislation in fact outlawed any registry, plain and simple, right there in the text. but that didn't matter. and, unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose. because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners
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and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators. and i talked to several of these senators over the past few weeks. they're all good people. i know all of them were shocked by tragedies like newtown. and i also understand that they come from states that are strongly pro-gun. i have consistently said there are regional differences when it comes to guns and that both sides have to listen to each other. but the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn't want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. there were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn't do this. it came down to politics. the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future
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elections. they worry that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as antisecond amendment. and obviously a lot of republicans had that fear but democrats had that fear, too. and so they caved to the pressure. and they started looking for an excuse, any excuse to vote no. one common argument i heard was this legislation wouldn't prevent all future massacres. that's true. as i said from the start, no single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil. we learned that tragically just two days ago. but if action by congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand, if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while
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preserving our second amendment rights, we had an obligation to try. and this legislation met that test ch te test. too many senators failed theirs. i've heard some say blocking this step would be a victory. my question is, a victory for who? a victory for what? all that happened today was the preservation of the loop hole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check. that didn't make our kids safer. victory for not doing something that 90% of americans, 80% of republicans, the vast majority of your constituents wanted to get done? it begs the question, who are we here to represent?
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i've heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. a prop somebody called it. emotional blackmail some outlets said. are they serious? do we really think thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don't have a right to weigh in on this issue? do we think their emotions and loss is not relevant to this debate? all in all this was a pretty shameful day for washington. this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people we can still
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bring about meaningful changes to reduce gun violence as long as the american people don't give up on it. even without congress my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities. we'll address the barriers that prevent the states from participating in the existing background check system. we're going to going to give law enforcement more for their jobs. put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools. but we can do more if congress gets its act together. if this congress refuses to listen to the american people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters. to all the people who supported this legislation, law enforcement and responsible gun owners, democrats and republicans, urban moms, rural hunters, whoever you are, you
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need to let your representatives in congress know that you are disappointed, and if they don't act this time, you will remember come election time. to the wide majority of nra households who supported this legislation, you need to het your leadership and lobbyists in washington know, they didn't represent your views on this one. the point is, those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence, will have to be as passionate and as organized and vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe. ultimately you outnumber those who argued the other way. but they're better organized, they're better financed, they've been at it longer. and they make sure to stay
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focused on this one issue during election time. and that's the reason why you can have something that 90% of americans support, and you can't get it through the senate or the house of representatives. so to change washington, you, the american people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this. and when necessary, you've got to send the right people to washington. and that requires strength. and it requires persistence. and that's the one thing that these families should have inspired in all of us. i still don't know how they have been able to muster up the strength to do what they've been doing over the last several weeks, the last several months. and i see this as just round one.
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when newtown happened, i met with these families and i spoke to the community, and i said, something must be different right now. we're going to have to change. that's what the whole country said. everybody talked about how we were going to change something, to make sure this didn't happen again. just like everybody talked about how we needed to do something after aurora. everybody talked about we need to change something after tucson. and i'm assuming that the emotions that we've all felt since newtown, the emotions that we've all felt since tucson and aurora and chicago, the pain we share with these families and families all across the country who have lost a loved one to gun violence, i'm assuming that's
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not a temporary thing. i'm assuming our expressions of grief and our commitment to do something different to prevent these things from happening are not empty words. i believe we're going to be able to get this done, sooner or later we're going to get this right. the memories of these children demand it. and so do the american people. thank you very much, everybody. >> there the president comforting some of the family members of the newtown, connecticut, massacre. the president in the rose garden. very, very emotionally powerful speech. normally you don't hear the president speaking in these kinds of terms, as he did. he said flatly, this is a pretty shameful day for washington.
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although he vowed this is only round one. even a compromise, even a watered-down background check, expansion could not be passed by the united states senate today. even though maybe 80%, 90% of the american people supported according to all of the most recent public opinion polls. he got emotional when he was in newtown, but this time he was just angry at what he said, 90% of the republicans who voted against this in the u.s. senate, he was clearly defiant. >> yeah, he was frustrated, wolf. look, this isn't a fight the president actually asked for. but after newtown, it was a fight he decided to take on. and i think you heard how passionate he is about this. and the frustration with washington, saying things like, who are we here to represent? and he was blindly referencing senator rand paul who made a
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comment this week that the newtown families were being used as so-called props. and he sort of said, dismissively, are you really serious about that? he committed to continuing this fight. he said that members of congress caved to pressure. and by the way, don't forget that the president lost four democrats in the senate on this. he also said that the nra and its allies, quote, willfully lied about this bill. this wasn't somebody who was using diplomatic language, or trying to say, just hold on, we're going to come back another day. he called people liars. he took on people very directly. he said that congress was shameful, questioned why members of congress were even here. so, you know, this is a president who's clearly committed to this. we'll get back to this issue, yes, he understands the american public is on his side in this issue, but what we saw today in congress was 7 out of 10
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republican voters, if you look at the polls closely don't want all of stricter gun control laws. and so you saw the politicians really reacting to that. and the president reacting to the situation in washington. i think you have to ask the question, after hearing the president on this, how is this going to affect possible bipartisan compromise on issues like immigration reform coming down the road. this is a clearly disappointed, frustrated president who's asking a question about washington, how can they ever get anything done if they can't do something that 9 out of 10 people in america want. >> very disappointing for the president. very disappointing for those families from newtown, connecticut. the governor of massachusetts, governor deval patrick, is here joining us right now. i know you support the president on this. the we'll have much more analysis later on what has happened in the united states. and to give us a quick thought.
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i assume you thought at least a modified compromise version of background checks would pass the senate. but it failed. >> well, wolf, i think we all did. not just people who follow politics in washington, but the american people. and i think as your colleague described a disappointed and frustrated president, he was speaking on behalf of a disappointed and frustrated american people. and i am hopeful, and i think he is, that the senate will come back to this. the house will take it up and do the right thing. but if they don't, he's right. it's up to all of us as citizens to hold our elected officials accountable at election time. >> as i said, we'll have much more analysis on this sensitive subject later in "the situation room." but let's talk about your beautiful city. and it is a beautiful city, boston. your great state of massachusetts. >> a great place. >> we were expecting a news conference from the fbi and other law enforcement. >> right. >> nearly an hour or so ago. it's been delayed. what's going on? >> well, mostly what's going on
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is the disruption over at the federal courthouse because of a bomb scare, i think. >> was that a real bomb scare? >> i don't know, i mean, did you mean there was a real device? >> yeah. >> i don't think anything's been found. but they evacuated the building. there's a lot of chaos and a lot of misinformation flying around. i've been briefed on the investigation. there has not been an arrest. there is no one in custody. but the investigation continues to unfold. and they're making progress. but it's going to take time. >> let's talk about the progress. because we have heard earlier in the day that there was some significant progress. they spotted a suspect, at least on one of the videotapes. is that accurate? >> well, you know, again, i get my briefings confidentially. you can understand that, wolf, and i want to let the fbi and all the law enforcement agencies working with them, let them run the investigation. it does seem to be that they are doing this in a very methodical way, very